Long Zheng has published some fantastic Windows Vista screencasts, which display the power of the Vista OS - released as a developer beta last week. The screencast that I was most interested in was the Sidebar. Similar in appearance and functionality to the Dashboard feature of Mac OS X Tiger, the Vista Sidebar allows users to manage their gadgets (Microsoft's term for widgets) and other content such as RSS feeds. The Sidebar can be easily shown or hidden on the Vista desktop, and individual gadgets given varying degrees of opacity. Gadgets can also be dragged and moved around the desktop.
As you probably know, gadgets are little customizable software apps that offer various bits of functionality - from a simple calculator to some of the more advanced apps that we're beginning to see nowadays (e.g. a Media Center programmer app). They are a feature of Microsoft's live.com platform, but will also be a key aspect of Vista. This shows the increasing integration of desktop functionality (Sidebar) with Web (live.com). Once Vista is released and live.com is more mature, users will be able to manage their gadgets from both platforms - and easily interchange according to whatever context they're in.